Tuesday, 25 September 2007


(August's assignment was set by Gloria who selected an opening sentence onto which we must add our own 500 or so words to create a work of either fiction or non-fiction. The opening sentence reads:
"The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged.")

The lot of us met on Saturday afternoon as arranged. I’d been waiting for this for a long time. Now at last I was old enough to join the rest of the devotees, for that’s how I think of us – devoted to a cause.

Of course every young man in this community thinks that one day they’ll be invited to join the others. They check you out first of course. Find out whether your like-minded. I am. Always have been.

I know there’s a lot of bad press about us. Scathing pieces in the newspapers and so on. I don’t think they realise that we have lots of influential people in our group. Pillars of the community – doctors, lawyers and so on, as well as the ordinary folk, the truck drivers, the labourers. Doesn’t matter what you do, if you feel strongly about this matter you’ll be accepted into the group.

So I went along. A few of the older guys came up and shook my hand. They looked me straight in the eye and asked if I was up for it. Up for it! I was trembling with anticipation, wondering what it would feel like, how it would be to finally do something about this problem. To make my mark.

I hoped our efforts today would have a result. We had our target picked – that much I knew. It was a short walk, all of us together, feet and hearts beating as one. I liked the idea of a uniform too. All white, pristine – clean looking, somehow. I’m not too worried about the anonymity aspect really – but the older, wiser heads say that it’s a good thing. I don’t know … some part of me wanted to be recognised. It would have been great to have people who aren’t in these hallowed ranks come up and say ‘good on ya – I’ve wanted to do that for a long time’.

So, now here I was – amongst my heroes, in a long white robe. I’m the one fifth back from the burning cross in the photo which was in the local paper. When the trial started – murder was the charge – that photo went all over the world.
Odd, isn’t it – my first Saturday afternoon meeting, and unlucky enough to be caught in what they say was ‘the most brutal attack this Southern state has seen in many years’. I can still hear the older men, my heroes, my role models, cheering me on, and I can still feel that excitement as I went at the enemy. But that’s the trouble, isn’t it – most people don’t seem to understand about the enemy. I’ve known about it ever since my daddy told me. He’s in the photo too.

You can see that I’m not used to the tall pointed white hood as I’ve put my hand up to steady it. And my hand is slightly covering the three initials emblazoned on it. The three important initials – in my mind the three most important initials in the world. The next hood I’ll wear, so they tell me, wont be a white one, and no initials this time – just something to hide my face as I’m sent to my Maker.

© Nelma Ward

No comments: